The US Department of Defense has awarded Oregon-based Teledyne FLIR Defense a $13.3-million contract to upgrade its R80D SkyRaider aerial drone.
Under the agreement, the company will program SkyRaider with new flight control software for autonomous chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance missions.
Teledyne will also produce radiological and chemical sensor payload prototypes for the drone. The development and design will be based on current US Army detectors.
The base contract covers the delivery of four SkyRaiders and six of each sensor payload. It includes options for documentation, support training, and supply of related systems.
The resulting solutions are expected to be delivered later this year. If all options are exercised, the timeline for the project will extend to 33 months.
CBRN Battlefield Support
According to Teledyne, the SkyRaider’s updated capabilities will reduce risks to military personnel.
The drone enables users to complete CBRN missions without directly controlling the drone and exposing teams to toxic materials.
Once delivered, the SkyRaiders and sensor payloads will deploy with the US Army’s Stryker Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle.
“For many good reasons, militaries are shifting their CBRN defense strategy from manned to unmanned platforms,” Teledyne FLIR Defense’s Dr. David Cullin stated.
“Employing unmanned air and ground assets to assess risks from weapons of mass destruction is an increasingly sought-after capability.”
“We’ll continue our customers’ important work to enhance situational awareness for mounted and dismounted operations, enabling greater maneuverability on future CBRN-contested battlefields.”